Josh Forbes’ uneven horror-comedy goes nowhere after a while, but has fun getting there.
Apartment life means having to give up most expectations of peace and quiet. I’ve had a neighbor who spent most of his days listening to disco music set at eleven on the volume dial, occasionally letting out a joyful “woo!” Another would tunelessly noodle on a keyboard for hours at a time. A third sounded as if he offered Irish step dancing lessons for extra income. Some people talk a good game about not putting up with noise, but most of us just learn to deal with it, usually by grumbling about it and making our own noise to cover it up.
Every now and then, however, a person will just snap, and then you end up with Destroy All Neighbors, a likably silly horror-comedy that compensates for a lack of plot and character development with gory practical effects and a memorable performance by Alex Winter. Continue Reading →
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
Despite a challenging premise and an overlong runtime, the Hunger Games prequel makes the most of the hand it’s been dealt.
The character of Coriolanus Snow is an odd choice for a Hunger Games hero. In the original books and films, as played by screen giant Donald Sutherland, Snow was a cold-hearted, cruel dictator clearly meant to echo real world fascist leaders. Here, in the prequel story The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (say that five times fast), Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) is just a sensitive, emotional teen dreamboat whose main goal is to provide for his family in the wake of the violent revolution that tore apart Panem, the country formerly known as the United States of America.
It’s difficult to understand why author Suzanne Collins, who wrote the novel Songbirds is based on, made the decision to try to humanize a violent authoritarian when a core theme of the original Hunger Games books and movies was lashing back at systemic oppression. Nonetheless, director Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire, I Am Legend) and his enthusiastic cast of talented performers make the best of the rather thematically confused story arc they’ve been given, turning in one of the most exciting, emotionally arresting entries in the franchise. Continue Reading →